A glossary of ethnic jewellery terms


The Ottoman Empire (Ottoman Turkish: دولت عليه عثمانیه Devlet-i ʿAliyye-yi ʿOsmâniyye] Modern Turkish: Osmanlı İmparatorluğu), sometimes referred to as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a contiguous transcontinental empire founded by Turkish tribes under Osman Bey in north-western Anatolia in 1299. With the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed II in 1453 the Ottoman state…Continue Reading

Opera length

An opera-length necklace is a single strand that is from 30 to 35 inches (60 to 90 cm) long. Opera-length generally refers to a string of pearls that hangs to the breastbone.Continue Reading


Oxidation is a chemical process in which oxygen atoms bond to atoms of a material (like a metal) and electrons are transferred from the oxided material to the reduced material. Iron oxidizes when exposed to air and moisture, forming iron oxide (rust). Silver oxidizes (tarnishes, turing the surface black) when it is exposed to hydrogen…Continue Reading


Onyx is a semi-precious stone that is black and white, generally arranged in layers. It is a form of agate with parallel banding. This structure lends itself to cameo making. Onyx is a species of chalcedony (microcrystalline quartz).Continue Reading


Opals are semi-precious stones that are luminous and iridescent, frequently with inclusions of many colors (“fire”). Opal is a mineral composed of noncrystalline (amorphous) silica (and some water) and is a species of quartz. There are three major types of opals: common opal, opalescent precious opal (white or black, with a rainbow-like iridescence caused by…Continue Reading